Namibia’s Agriculture Minister commends Chinese South-South Cooperation experts
14 Febraury 2017, Namibia. The Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry to the Republic of Namibia, Hon John Mutorwa praised 15 Chinese experts seconded to Namibia to provide technical assistance for agricultural irrigation, a central veterinary laboratory and research station in a meeting regardingcompletion of the first phase, which started in April 2015 and ends next 30 April.
Mutorwa said the group did an excellent job and he was satisfied with their work. “The experts and their local counterparts have been implementing a project with well-defined objectives and outcomes covering rice and horticulture as well as veterinary policies and standards.” the Minister explained.
The experts were deployed to different green scheme projects of the ministry such as Kalimbeza and Etunda, Windhoek central veterinary laboratory and some research stations of the ministry.
This is a tripartite cooperation project between the two countries and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) which formulated a South-South Cooperation project for Namibia.
Nambia’s Minister Mutorwa said some of the projects’ achievements are rice varieties that were successfully introduced and are currently on trial to enable the ministry to select three varieties best suited for Namibia.
Training on rice production was conducted for both farmers and officials of the ministry. The minister said foxtail millet was introduced and was proven to grow at Omahenene research station and it was confirmed that an average yield of 2.5 tons per hectare could be produced under irrigation. The seed cooperative received a seed sorting machine, which will now facilitate and accelerate the sorting and packaging of millet seed.
Mechanical transplantation of rice seedlings was introduced. The experts also conducted training in horticulture production, which was conducted for small-scale farmers and officials at Mashare, Ruuga and Etunda irrigation schemes, as well as Salem project.
“The results that I have just listed will immensely contribute to attainment of our national goals on agricultural production, agricultural productivity, food security and food self-sufficiency as stipulated in our high-level national documents, namely Vision 2030, NDP 4 and Harambee Prosperity Plan,” Mutorwa said.
Chinese ambassador to Namibia, Li Nan, said the introduced technologies and farming skills have helped Namibians to acknowledge and apply the scientific way to farming, land cultivation and standardised practices in animal disease resistance and detection.
“Agriculture is the foundation of the country since it is closely related to people’s livelihood and food security. In recent years, the Namibian government – especially the minister – has done a great job in promoting agriculture development, facilitating land cultivation and planning for the sophisticated water irrigation system,” Li Nan added.
South-South Cooperation, success story in Namibia
FAO Representative in Namibia, Babagana Ahmadu, said South-South cooperation had achieved significant success in the country in terms of complementing government’s efforts to increase agricultural production.
Through this cooperation, rice yields at Kalimbeza have increased by more than 10% and 15 new Chinese rice varieties and one foxtail millet variety are under trial to determine their adaptability in Namibia, he stated.
Ahmadu welcomed the training of more than 400 Namibian farmers and government officials in rice, foxtail millet and horticultural production.
Various demonstrations on pest management, correct fertilizer application methods and compost-making were conducted for farmers and government officials during the first phase of the period. “I am also informed that Chinese standard operational procedures for the analysis of mectins, benzimidazoles and steroids were acquired by the central veterinary laboratory, and the validation of these methods will be done in the near future,”said FAO Representative in Namibia.
The second phase of the project remains under discussion by the partners.